HAMZAH SHEERAZ will hear the silence of the BT Sport Studios a little louder than anyone else.
The Ilford super-welterweight will jump back into action on July 10 at Frank Warren’s behind-closed-doors show in Stratford without his No 1 fan in support.
Shabnum Sadiq — his aunt and a mother of five — lost her life to Covid- 19 in April, leaving her family, including 13-year-old quadruplets, devastated.
Sheeraz, 21, has used the gruelling training sessions for his fight with Paul Kean to distract from the agony, but is comforted by knowing he has the rest of his career to honour her.
The 10-0 Slough-born ace told SunSport: “My auntie loved me boxing.
“I think a lot of female relatives dread their boys boxing, but I think most families have that one rough and tough auntie who loves a bit of fighting — and she really was that person for us.
“She used to love how much I enjoyed it. She always used to come and watch my fights and support me.
“It’s really sad to not have her for this next big step and hopefully all the others that are to come, but my job now is to repay her support and make her proud.
“I didn’t really believe in or understand this virus, or how serious it is, until my auntie passed away but it shocks you into understanding.
“I know I am not the only person who has suffered a bereavement and, to be honest, having this opportunity to fight has been a distraction and a motivation to take my mind off her loss.
“I’ve had to focus on this date and lead as normal a life as possible. Knowing she is not coming back is incredibly hard but I have a way of making her proud.”
Champ Sheeraz’ WBO European super-welterweight title fight against Dundee boxer Kean, 27, was originally scheduled for April 11 at London’s O2.
But it was postponed because of the virus and will now be on the card at BT’s facility at the Olympic Park.
Sheeraz’ large family and friend base all over the country would have flocked to London for his 11th fight.
But having been so personally impacted by coronavirus, they will be treating the upcoming rule relaxations tentatively and filming special tributes to their rising ring hero.
Arsenal fan Sheeraz said: “All my friends and family who would usually have bought tickets will be watching from home, but I don’t think there will be any garden gatherings or parties.
“A lot of my family and friends have told me they are going to film themselves watching on their phones. We can share it all on social media and they can share with me how much they enjoyed it
and what it meant to them.”
After such a heartbreaking lockdown, the Gooner can at least raise a smile when asked about a recent training photo.
Sheeraz said: “I do train in an Arsenal shirt sometimes but there’s definitely none with David Luiz on the back!
“It was stressful enough before lockdown and we are probably the only Premier League fans who haven’t enjoyed the football coming back so far.
“But that’s part and parcel of being an Arsenal fan these days.”